Managing contamination from mines

Scientists have investigated how acidic water from mines is generated, leading to a potential solution for managing pollution from mines

By investigating the contamination produced by mine sites, scientists could find ways to better manage a major industrial pollutant.

Acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) is produced when iron sulphide minerals like pyrite are exposed to both oxygen and water. Managing the risks of AMD to human health and the environment is one of the mining industry’s key challenges.

Now, a team of scientists in Australia, including researchers from the University of South Australia, has investigated how the impact of galvanization, in which a protective layer of zinc is produced during the oxidation of pyrite, affects AMD.

The researchers studied how the presence of other metal sulfide minerals, such as galena and sphalerite, affects pyrite oxidation and found that the formation of a galvanic cell in which the cathode is protected and the anode is dissolved reduces the oxidation of pyrite.

This article was first published by Springer Nature. Read the original article here.